illustration of Ebenezer Scrooge in silhouette walking toward a Christmas tree and followed by the three ghosts

A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

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What conflicts do the main characters in A Christmas Carol face?

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We find the main conflict in the person of Scrooge, the central character. It is not a conflict which is apparent at first, but we gradually become aware of it as the story goes on and we learn more and more about his past. At first he appears every inch the most miserable of misers, utterly indifferent, even callous towards other human beings. However, particularly with the visit of the first Spirit which shows him visions of his past, we come to realise that he has been repressing his better self all along. The main conflict is therefore internal in Scrooge. We see that he became the hard man he is at the beginning of the story due to his poverty-stricken background, which led him to seek out wealth at the expense of all else. There are also strong hints of family problems, that his father neglected him. We can deduce that this has led him, a a grown man, to try and keep his better feelings hidden, but the visit of the three Spirits bring out the more loving and human side of his nature again. Thus the internal conflict is finally resolved, as his better side wins out.


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